We all know the whole culture surrounding the workplace and the idea of jobs in general is changing: people are working remotely and for many different companies in their lifetime.
There isn’t the old sense of long-term ‘job loyalty’ anymore. A UK worker will now change employer every five years on average, with millennials more comfortable changing roles than previous generations.
Yet although the world of work has become more flexible, training hasn’t followed suit. Recent research by AVADO revealed that UK workers have gone two years on average without any form of training, with more than one in ten having had no training in over four years.
This is having a huge impact on businesses, as more than half of these professionals said they’d leave their employer for better training opportunities elsewhere.
Learning isn’t just for a specific qualification – it will soon be much more an idea of ‘learning is for life’. This means businesses that don’t have regular training in place risk not only losing out on the benefits of new skills that allow staff to be productive and effective in their jobs, but also losing out on top talent, which has a huge impact on growth.
How can HR leaders and companies make sure training keeps pace with such a dramatic change?
1. Use online learning to make training more flexible
More than two fifths of UK employees (43%) told us they’d like to be able to access courses online to develop much-needed skills. Employees don’t want face-to-face training in places far away from home, where they feel that they are just a number in their company’s quest to tick boxes.
They want personalised, engaging, easy-to-digest learning that has a real impact on their day job and their future within their business.
The best L&D programmes will find ways to take into account learner preferences. We all have certain environments that help us focus and ways of being taught that we are most receptive to, ranging from listening to a podcast on the way into work or watching a video tutorial in a café to sharing ideas in online forums.
Technology is becoming even more sophisticated and soon we’ll be working with AI and VR on a day-to-day basis.
These online learning examples have technology at their core, giving users options to find the time and place that suits them best.
It’s also important that online learning actively encourages employees to complete an entire programme, whether working towards a qualification or gaining job-based skills.
Each employee should be given a learning pathway, which outlines what they need to learn, why these skills are important, and how their company will support their training and development. This means staff understand that training is not a ‘one off’ but a continuous journey.
2. Embrace new technology to improve the learning experience
Technology is becoming even more sophisticated and soon we’ll be working with AI and VR on a day-to-day basis – this is something one in five (18%) professionals said they’d like to see built into their learning experience.
For example, this could be using virtual reality to simulate complex and dangerous environments to teach staff specific skills, such as how to operate certain technology on an oil rig.
HR managers and business leaders alike are facing a challenge in the professional learning space which can’t be ignored for five or ten years.
While this might seem like the classroom of the future, technology is already facilitating virtual group work when people are learning remotely, which is often neglected by online learning.
By working on an assignment or discussing a topic in a small team as part of a collaborative online class, learners create a network of peer support that helps motivate them to complete the course.
For programmes that span several weeks or months, group work replicates the mechanisms of support that you get in a face-to-face environment, which could be within the learning software or even a WhatsApp, Google Hangout or Facebook group. This collaboration means knowledge can be shared by learners with a diverse range of backgrounds, locations and industries, enriching the learning experience.
3. Let staff shape their own training
Finally, HR and L&D should not be afraid to hand some of the responsibility of choosing the curriculum over to the learners themselves. When staff have the power to follow what they’re passionate about and choose how training can really support them, we find people are much more engaged.
This type of collaboration doesn’t just mean employees get the skills they need, which has a positive outcome for the business, it also makes the employee feel they’re part of making important decisions for their career.
HR managers and business leaders alike are facing a challenge in the professional learning space which can’t be ignored for five or ten years. This is a problem that needs to be solved now.
Those businesses that do will not only improve skills within the workforce, but see greater staff retention and ultimately, a business that has the talent to keep up with the fast changing world of work.